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All Saints' Church Brixworth is the largest surviving Anglo-Saxon building in this country.  It stands majestically on its hilltop, a fascinating study for archaeologists, geologists and historians alike.  The Church also has a unique appeal to the thousands of people worldwide who visit it every year, some having been several times before.  It has been in continuous use as a place of Christian worship since its foundation by the monks of Peterborough in circa 680 A.D. The building, though impressive today, once had porticus extending from the north and south sides of the nave. The former entrances to these side chambers can be seen today outlined by Roman brick arches on both sides of the nave. At the west end of the church an external stair turret is one of only four similar ones to be found in England.  The ring crypt around the apse at the east end is one of only three of this kind in Europe and is thought to have provided an ambulatory for pilgrims to glimpse a relic set in the wall of the apse.


                                                          Interior looking West                           The Altar                           Interior looking East

                                                              Click  to enlarge                                                                              Click on picture to enlarge




The relic was discovered in 1809 when some pews were being altered in the Lady Chapel.  Workmen found a projecting stone in the south wall underneath the middle window and removed it.  This stone turned out to be a reliquary, or relic container, dating from the 14th century.  Inside the lower section of the reliquary was a wooden box containing a small human throat bone wrapped in cloth on which was probably the name of the saint whose bone it was.  Unfortunately the cloth disintegrated when exposed to the air leaving the mystery of whose bone it was, who put it in the church and why.  Various historians have offered possible solutions to the mystery of the Brixworth relic, based, it must be emphasised, on little documented evidence.  By far the most plausible of these theories suggests the bone belonged to a St Boniface who had some measure of popularity in the village in medieval times. 


                                                                                  THE SAXON EAGLE HEAD

Situated on the left side of the south facing early 12th century doorway, this Saxon stone engraving of an eagle's head may once have been part of a Roman building (a Roman Villa once stood half a mile north of the church). The builders of the Norman porch (demolished in 1864) may have placed it in its present position. Another interesting piece of carved stone in the church is the lower portion of a late Saxon Cross situated near the pulpit.It was found in the former Vicarage garden in 1897 and it appears to have once been used as a door jamb.


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